Friday, June 24, 2011

What I Say to Myself While I Write a First Draft

Who do you think you are, writing a book like this?
You'll never get published again. You might as well quit.
Even if someone publishes this book, it won't get into Barnes & Noble. It won't be popular. You won't get rich or famous or even slightly rich or slightly famous.
Maybe someone will write the book for you. Then you could revise it. Or even better, you could read it once it's published and on the shelves.
You're not talented enough to write this book.
The characters are flat. The plot is stupid.
You don't know what you're doing.
You're going to embarrass yourself.
You might have an interesting idea, but you'll never translate that idea to the page.


You've already written 150 pages. That's pretty freakin awesome.
You can definitely write 50 more. Then you'll get to revise.
As terrible as this first draft is, you know you can improve it in revision.
You aren't in any rush. You can take your time and work on the manuscript until it's the very best you can make it.
Nobody else can write this particular story except you. It's yours. That's why.
Even if it's not a blockbuster, it will be someone's favorite book.
You're enjoying exploring the themes and the characters.
You're stretching yourself with new writing challenges.
It's always this hard.
There's no other job you'd rather be doing.

These thoughts run through my head every single day. It's a little crazy-making. Anyone who thinks they might like to be an author should proceed with caution as well as wild abandon. It takes both.


Alan said...

I can attest to the every day up and down crazy-ville of living with an author. And how cool it is to hear from people who's hearts have been touched by the her words

Ellen Reagan said...

It is totally crazy-making. And crazily rewarding. . . on a good day. Bottom line, it's what I want to be doing. So I'm going to keep on doing it. And maybe one day I'll get good.

Sara F. Shacter said...

Love the idea of cautious abandon!